Thursday, June 4 update

NYS update: This just in – Albany Guy is being touted for SUNY Chancellor.

While acknowledging Johnson’s academic credentials, Schwartz said SUNY’s next chancellor should not be from another state. [Jim] Malatras, he said, is entrenched in New York politics and can work well with the governor, unions, the Legislature and the higher education community.

(Only in Albany is the word “entrenched” ever used in a positive sense.)

Cuomo’s slides person today apparently thought we needed a flowchart for understanding the impending collapse of democracy. It looks like this:

Hate to say it, but this chart reminds me of those super complicated charts about the menstrual cycle that confused me as a kid. And we all know what happens at the end of that cycle.

Okay, back to criticizing Cuomo now. Now that Trump seems to have been at least temporarily forced into silence by voices from the former military, our governor can pivot and pretend that cops weren’t actually beating up innocent people trying to walk home in NYC last night. We’re getting too close to actually coherently demanding all kinds of very doable police reform, so now he’s all “la la la I can’t hear you.” But, he says he’s out of the political business, so I guess it’s okay. But as the saying goes, Cuomo may not be interested in politics, but politics is very interested in him.

Onondaga County update: There was no county briefing today, as it would have conflicted with the George Floyd memorial service (and coincidentally other important public speaking events going on downtown, which Mayor Walsh participated in). A press release from the county stated that community transmission continues to be on a downward trend. In fact, yesterday the CE proclaimed that Phase 1 hadn’t resulted in any discernible uptick in infections at all — quite the triumphal note, there. But one trend that I’ve noted before has attracted media attention: more women in Onondaga County are dying of COVID than men. And probably women are driving test numbers, too:

While they don’t have an exact number, county leaders are confident in saying more women are getting tested here than men. The National Center for Health Statistics says men are twice as likely to wait more than two years between doctors visits. So why are men testing less than women? Researchers at Harvard University say men with traditional views on masculinity are less likely to get consistent care. Many men also report a fear of diagnosis. 

(This played out on stage at Monday’s county briefing where Walsh seemed to waver about getting himself tested, citing pressure from his wife and daughters. CE McMahon still dodges the question.)

Yesterday’s county briefing focused a good deal on fiscal disaster cleanup and especially on McMahon’s irritation with the county legislature for dragging their feet on addressing his proposed energy tax. (For those unfamiliar with Onondaga county politics, the GOP controls the legislature by an almost 2:1 majority… and the county has had GOP executives for all of that office’s 58-year existence.) The Republicans in the legislature were not the only ones he was annoyed with yesterday, as he expressed the wish that “my Federal friends” would face reality and admit that New York State is in need of serious help. (The tone here was decidedly icy.)

The divisions between all the county leaders and their enemies and frenemies in the county legislatures are about to explode into forced bloom like hothouse flowers, all different in the way that unhappy families are different. Here in Onondaga, the Republican CE wants to tax, and to cut. The cuts are not planned to fall equally. Nonprofits get to walk the plank first.

The county told Vera House it would have to cut funding by 15% for two separate programs beginning May 1. One of the programs, cut by $6,750, provides therapy services for children who have been sexually abused, said Randi Bregman, executive director of Vera House. A second program will be cut by $10,985 as the county scales back its adult protective services contract with Vera House, Bregman said. The money provides victims of domestic violence and elder abuse with services such as safety planning, counseling, support groups, education and prevention programs.

Then again, the money from the CARES Act hasn’t flowed equally. If your metro is 500,000 people or more, you got money. If 499,999, no soup for you. Almost a half million invisible people in Central New York do not deserve federal funding. Invisibility can be a superpower, but is that only in the comic books?

Ironically, while Cuomo quoted the Bible in his briefing yesterday, he has still not moved on what the CE really wants, which is for his 25% church/synagogue/mosque occupancy idea to become reality. When/if this finally happens, expect McMahon and/or Oneida’s Tony Picente to take credit for it, like they have been with the restaurant openings. When asked by a reporter if Phase 2 is expected to last for 14 days also, the CE said “Just let me laugh that off.” (Hard to believe that all that drama over Phase 2, plus marches and downtown looting, all unfolded over just 48 hours.)